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Wondertime Sails to the South Pacific – Day 26 – Landfall!

At 1320 ship’s time we dropped our anchor at Atuona, Hiva Oa.

Wow. Oh wow oh wow oh wow. It is gorgeous here.

I was on watch when the sky started to lighten this morning and gradually the grey smudge on the horizon grew bigger and bigger. Land ho!

All of us came up to the cockpit to watch the sun rise and the details of this island paradise come into view. Tall craggy green cliffs and misty valleys. Dramatic clouds. Rain showers in the distance. Even rainbows.

We couldn’t smell the island as it was to leeward of us, until we motored into the anchorage at Atuona. Suddenly a breeze blew down from the towering green hillside and hit us: it was like we had sailed right into a flower shop.

What I will remember most about this day though was the incredible kindness bestowed upon us: from the new cruising friend who came by in his dinghy to kedge our stern anchor out for us to another cruiser friend who kayaked by with a fresh pamplemousse for us to savor as we sat in the cockpit shortly after landing, just taking in the incredible view around us. As we sat outside a grocery store this afternoon munching a fresh baguette the older gentleman who worked in the store brought us a tray of chocolate eclairs and motioned for us each to take one; we soon had chocolate eclaire filling dripping down our chins. This evening we treated our crew Matt to dinner out and as we were leaving the restaurant the owner stopped us and offered to drive the five of us the two dark miles back to the yacht harbor.

This is a beautiful, beautiful place and we are so glad to be here.

Total miles: 2713


  1. Paul says:

    Totally awesome. Congratulations! Thanks for taking us readers with you. You made my mornings in this cubicle much more tolerable. I think I’ll stop out for an eclaire πŸ™‚

  2. Rich says:

    Wow! Good job!

    I’ve been casually lurking since the Jenny P days, but now I’m really hooked.

    I’ve followed the Northern Magic, Iwalani, Bumfuzzles, and more across and I can’t wait for your perspective. I don’t think I’ll be disappointed.

    Enjoy your dream.


  3. Ingrid Bennett says:

    So happy for you! I’ve been praying for safety and am glad you have landed. (OK and I am more than just a little jealous) Thanks for sharing your adventures!! Hugs to those beautiful girls.

  4. Carlos Flores says:

    Congratulations! I have followed your e-wake since your stay at La Cruz, and I am very grateful to you for sharing such a wonderful account of your voyage across the Pacific ocean. Thanks for sharing not only the amazing facts of your trip, but also your personal experiences the

    1. Carlos Flores says:

      … but also your personal experiences that make you enjoy Life so much, such as the color of the sky, the smell of the island or the flavor of bread.

  5. Lance Calisch says:

    Wow! Congratulations!

  6. Jacqueline says:

    Congratulations! Your arrival day sounds perfect. Looking forward to many more stories of your South Pacific adventures.

  7. Kyra says:

    Yaaaay! So happy for you guys – what an awesome accomplishment – you are inspiring our dreams of heading that way once we’re done on this side of the Pacific. Hugs xo

  8. Nita Bell says:

    WOW!! Congratulations. I am so happy for all of you. I got goosebumps reading this post. What a sight that was after so many days at sea. So happy for all of you. What an adventure and so many more to come. Enjoy!

  9. Joellen Wilhelm says:

    Reading your post this morning made me cry…what an accomplishment!

  10. Dani says:

    AWESOME!! I also have been reading everyday to hear the updates. So glad you finally made it:). Its sounds dreamy.

    Thanks for sharing, looking forward to reading more.

  11. Deborah says:

    Congratulations!!! I’ve been reading your posts every morning and have been so excited for you all about reaching landfall. You did it!! Enjoy paradise. I’m looking forward to reading about it.

  12. Trevor says:

    Woo hoo! You got’re done – and in textbook form. Way to put that passage under your belt – now the fun and discovery of a new world. You made it sound easy. Congratulations!

  13. Teacher Kaylene says:

    I was so excited to turn on my computer this morning and read about your arrival! Your words gave me goosebumps AND made me cry. Thank you for taking us with you on this amazing journey. Love to you all. — Kaylene

  14. Congrats to you all! It’s been super fun following your progress across the Pacific. You guys are an inspiration!

  15. Tracy says:

    I’m so excited for you guys! Can’t wait for pictures and stories of island life until you head out for sea again.

  16. Teacher Kaylene says:

    I just looked up your location on Wikipedia and discovered a funny coincidence. Last friday we went to the Seattle Art Museum to see the “Gauguin in Polynesia” exhibit. It was a mixture of Gauguin’s paintings that he did while living on several different Polynesian islands and native Polynesian art and ceremonial objects. We spent several hours immersed in the images of where you actually are right now, Gauguin’s final home. Fascinating!

    (Northwest neighbors — if you’re interested in seeing the Gauguin exhibit at SAM, go soon! It closes on April 29. The colors and images are wonderful and powerful, plus you can make a cool connection with our friends on Wondertime.)

  17. The Hollingers says:

    We are so excited for you! We have been following you since you left Swantown (we’re still here at D-32). So glad you all made it safe & sound. We also almost cried when we read that you made it. Enjoy following your dream. We love reading your updates. Our plan is to head down the coast in july. Following you has given us inspiration and the belief that this dream can be achieved. Thank you so much and have the time of your life!

  18. Dave says:

    Well Done! Enjoyed your adventure and look forward to hearing of more!

  19. Caitlin Hickey says:

    So glad ya’ll made it.

  20. Tig says:

    Congratulations on a safe & successful passage. Can’t wait until you post pictures.

  21. Lisa says:

    Congratulations! We’re looking forward to another update from Leah. πŸ™‚

  22. Garth says:

    Congratulations on your arrival, certainly a fruit of a ton of planning, preparation, and great seapersonship! Looking forward to more tales from the south seas. I bet the girls are having fun with the freedom on the beaches… Take care.

  23. Kieran says:

    Thrilled to bits for you all. Awesome achievement . Happy sailing in the days ahead

  24. Pat Scheuner says:

    Thank you Sara for sharing the wonderful family adventure. Your descriptions took on the trip with you. Looking forward to updates as you island hop, catch up on laundry and hopefully no repairs. Hugs to you all, Pat and Bill , your Camino family